Posted by: thughesa | May 19, 2010

Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbours?


I live in a fabulous community.

I have neighbours who watch and love my kids, lend me sugar, help me drink wine after a hard day, put on amazing potlucks, play street hockey, and have my lonely self over for dinner when my husband is out of town.  I love living here.

Our community is very open and my building has few fences.  My unit shares a long patio with two other suites, there are no fences, other than the one pictured above that stands between us and the woods.  A few spindly plants act as pseudo barriers between our units, which my children quickly trample to scamper over to say hello to our neighbours when they appear.  They don’t seem to mind and appear to enjoy their curiosity and warm squishy hugs.

For the first time in my life I know my neighbours.  I feel like I am a part of something really special.  This applies not only to the people who live in my building and across the street, but to every parent in my community.  If I am having a tough day, a quick trip to the courtyard or playground to chat with other parents and neighbours always makes me feel better.

The Univercity Moms Group I started a couple of years ago has certainly facilitated this experience for me.  It started with twenty other moms I knew.  I thought it would help us connect for play dates and share information about parenting and the community.  It has now grown to over one hundred members.  It has become an invaluable resource for me and other parents in our community and has facilitated social relationships that otherwise may not have formed.

I wish I had had access to such a group when I had my first baby.  I had no friends with children, no one to ask for advice, no one to commiserate with when I was having the baby blues or just feeling alone while at home on maternity leave.  If this group has helped one person get through some of the hurdles parenting throws at us then I feel like I have really contributed something to my community.

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